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Student challenges incumbent representative

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Dustin McGowen loads campaign signs into the back of his car. He's running in the Republican primary for state House district 54. Dustin McGowen loads campaign signs into the back of his car. He's running in the Republican primary for state House district 54.
Incumbent Paul Wesselhoft said he doesn't want McGowen to run. Incumbent Paul Wesselhoft said he doesn't want McGowen to run.

By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

MOORE, Okla. - Dustin McGowen is in college, lives with his parents, works at IHOP, and is running for state representative.

The 21-year-old college student is challenging incumbent Paul Wesselhoft to represent Moore in the Oklahoma House of Representative. State and local primaries are July 29. For more about all the races, click on the election coverage.

 "I'm running for State House 54 in the republican primary," McGowen said. "The people in this district deserve better,"

Wesselhoft said he'd rather not have a primary opponent.

"I tried to talk him into not running," Wesselhoft said. "I told him this is not the way you want to start out in the Republican Party trying to take out the number one conservative in the house of representatives."

McGowen said he was inspired to run by the recent success of a Muskogee teenager's bid for mayor.

In May, Muskogee voters elected John Hammons as their Mayor. At 19, he's one of the youngest elected officials in the nation.

"His example, it was kind of a catalyst," McGowen said.

McGowen said the race will be challenging. He has a few signs, a few donors, and his tips from his waiter's job to keep the campaign going.

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